Happy Birthday Moon

Raymond Antrobus

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Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.

Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

He makes the Moon say something new every night

to his deaf son who slurs his speech.

 

Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it,

his deaf son who slurs his speech.

Dad taps the page, says, try again.

 

Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it.

I say Rain-nan Akabok. He laughs.

Dad taps the page, says, try again,

but I like making him laugh. I say my mistake again.

 

I say Rain-nan Akabok. He laughs,

says, Raymond you’re something else.

I like making him laugh. I say my mistake again.

Rain-nan Akabok. What else will help us?

 

He says, Raymond you’re something else.

I’d like to be the Moon, the bear, even the rain.

Rain-nan Akabok, what else will help us

hear each other, really hear each other?

 

I’d like to be the Moon, the bear, even the rain.

Dad makes the Moon say something new every night

and we hear each other, really hear each other.

As Dad reads aloud, I follow his finger across the page.

This is a pantoum inspired by Frank Asch's picturebook Happy Birthday, Moon (Simon & Schuster, 2014; first published by Prentice-Hall, 1982)

 

Raymond Antrobus, “Happy Birthday Moon” from The Perseverance. Copyright © 2018 by Raymond Antrobus. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins, 2018)